[in-sol-yuh-buh l]
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Origin of insoluble

1350–1400; < Latin insolūbilis; replacing Middle English insolible < Middle French insoluble < L. See in-3, soluble
Related formsin·sol·u·bil·i·ty, in·sol·u·ble·ness, nounin·sol·u·bly, adverbsem·i-in·sol·u·ble, adjective
Can be confusedinsoluble insolvable unsolvable Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for insoluble


  1. incapable of being dissolved; incapable of forming a solution, esp in water
  2. incapable of being solved
Derived Formsinsolubility or insolubleness, nouninsolubly, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for insoluble

late 14c., "unable to be loosened," from Latin insolubilis "that cannot be loosened," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + solubilis (see soluble). Figurative use, of problems, etc., is from late 14c.

It was a tacit conviction of the learned during the Middle Ages that no such thing as an insoluble question existed. There might be matters that presented serious difficulties, but if you could lay them before the right man -- some Arab in Spain, for instance, omniscient by reason of studies into the details of which it was better not to inquire -- he would give you a conclusive answer. The real trouble was only to find your man. [Gertrude Bell, "The Desert and the Sown," 1907]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

insoluble in Medicine


  1. Not soluble.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

insoluble in Science


  1. Not capable of being fully dissolved. Fats and oils are insoluble in water.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.